Democrat Tim Walz defeated Republican Jeff Johnson to win the Gubernatorial race in Minnesota Tuesday night. Johnson conceded shortly before 11p.m. CST.
As of 11 p.m on Tuesday night, Walz was leading with about 54% of the vote to Johnson’s nearly 42 percent, with over 80% of votes reported.
With Walz’s win, The Democrats in Minnesota made history by controlling the Governor’s office for three consecutive terms since the 1950’s. Prior to running for Governor, Walz’s served as a six-term U.S. House member, retired National Guardsmen and former Mankato school teacher.
During the Campaign for Minnesota Governor, Walz’s campaign focused on immigrants and inclusivity, which was seen through his campaign theme of “One Minnesota”.
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“I want to be clear— Jeff Johnson loves this State dearly…it’s simply putting forward different visions. We can bridge those gaps…for one Minnesota.” Walz said.
Walz and his running mate, Rep. Peggy Flanagan of St. Louis Park endorsed a progressive agenda throughout the campaign trail. In the primary, Walz defeated Rep. Erin Murphy and Attorney General Lori Swanson.
Johnson, a Hennepin County commissioner, former state legislator and attorney from Plymouth unsuccessfully ran for Attorney General in 2006 (Attorney General), and then for Governor in 2008.
Johnson and his running mate, Donna Bergstrom of Duluth ran on a platform of shrinking government waste and spending that was supportive of President Trump’s agenda. Johnson promised to pause the Refugee Resettlement Program, and to lower taxes. In the Republican primary, Johnson beat Tim Pawlenty. In October during a rally, President Trump endorsed Johnson.
In his concession speech, Johnson thanked the voters and his supporters for their efforts and prayers.
“I don’t believe the outcome means that GOD doesn’t answer prayers about this,” Johnson told his supporters in Bloomington, “I just think He’s got something else in mind. I don’t have a clue what it is for me, but it’s going to be awesome….Obviously, this didn’t turn out the way we wanted. Sometimes timing is bad in politics. Sometimes other things go wrong. But I hope everyone in this room will keep up the fight. Keep fighting to make Minnesota about people, about individuals and not about government, about bureaucracy.”
The 2018 campaign season was characterized by divisive attack ads and social media messaging often paid for by outside groups. Yet amid that atmosphere, both Walz and Johnson ran rather cordial campaigns against each other.
During the campaign, Johnson warned what would happen to Minnesota if Walz became Governor. “We’d become essentially the safe space, the magnet for every illegal alien who wants to be protected from the federal government in any way, and that means not just illegal immigrants who wandered across the border, this means criminals, dangerous criminals.”